The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has joined a consortium of global universities committed to addressing climate change through capacity building from high-quality teaching and research and strategic partnerships with leading international organisations. On June 29, the University Network for Strengthening Macrofinancial Resilience to Climate and Environmental Change was launched during a virtual ceremony hosted by the Centre for Sustainable Finance at SOAS, University of London and aligned with the commemoration of London Climate Action Week 2022.
The UWI’s membership was made official through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles and Professor Ulrich Volz, Academic Director of the university network. The UWI joins other eminent partner institutions such as Oxford University, University of Nairobi, University of Ghana, University of Dar es salaam and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
This new network was conceptualised in 2021, to promote multidisciplinary graduate-level academic teaching and professional training and research to build capacity among current and future leaders in government and the private sector. Its Secretariat is managed by the Centre for Sustainable Finance at SOAS University of London, and initial funding was received from the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office. As part of its ongoing outreach and resource mobilization initiatives, the network is actively collaborating with the World Resources Institute, the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, and regional development banks and other development agencies.
The initiative recognises that although the Paris Agreement established capacity building as central to the climate convention process, many climate-vulnerable countries continue to face serious challenges to address climate-related macrofinancial risks and vulnerabilities.
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs, Dr. Stacy Richards-Kennedy represented The UWI at the June 29 launch event and was featured in a panel discussion that examined universities as catalysts of change. She noted, “This network will respond to the urgent need that is faced by many countries, particularly the vulnerable island states of the Caribbean, for a more robust capacity to leverage increased financing opportunities and to integrate climate risk considerations into macroeconomic, fiscal, public financial management, procurement, and other processes”.
The University Network for Strengthening Macrofinancial Resilience to Climate and Environmental Change is a key part of the Resilience Adaptation Mainstreaming Programme (RAMP), a long-term capacity-building programme focused on improving the capacities of central ministries of finance, economies, and planning in climate-vulnerable countries. Member universities will work together to support the education of students and policymakers to strengthen macrofinancial resilience; offer high-quality graduate-level teaching and professional training that will enable current and future leaders to effectively address climate-related macrofinancial risks and vulnerabilities that threaten macroeconomic stability and economic development; play a central role in providing targeted professional training for government and private sector and act as key providers of in-country and regional services.